Definition of Occam's razor in English:

Occam's razor


(also Ockham's razor)
  • The principle (attributed to William of Occam) that in explaining a thing no more assumptions should be made than are necessary. The principle is often invoked to defend reductionism or nominalism.

    ‘The Faithfulness Condition is thus a formal version of Ockham's razor.’
    • ‘This approach seems to apply Occam's razor to the principle itself, eliminating the word ‘assumptions.’’
    • ‘That was Occam's razor, a fundamental principle of scientific reasoning.’
    • ‘Applying Ockham's razor in these cases would complicate and balkanize, rather than simplify.’
    • ‘I don't believe there is a political Occam's razor.’
    • ‘Applying Occam's razor, both the idea of reincarnation and the idea of an immortal soul which will go to heaven or hell are equally unnecessary.’
    • ‘By Occam's razor, all other more complicated mechanisms should be disregarded, even if they have a similar quality of fit.’
    • ‘By Occam's razor, we should avoid elaboration of more complex explanations if a simple one will do.’
    • ‘He named it for the principle of Occam's razor, as though to demonstrate that out of many possibilities, the simplest is often the best.’
    • ‘Many strange things are possible if you accept the plenitude principle and reject Occam's razor.’
    • ‘This could be interpreted, using Occam's razor, that a three-state model is not necessary.’
    • ‘Those of a logical bent might use Occam's razor to reject biorhythms in favor of this simpler explanation.’
    • ‘In the first, Shelley argues that a supernatural creator is an unnecessary hypothesis, a violation of Occam's razor.’
    • ‘The next logical step would be to use Occam's razor and abandon the concept of custom.’
    • ‘If you so much as allude to angels, they'll smoke you out before anyone can say Ockham's razor!’
    • ‘Yet on this point it seems useful to apply Ockham's razor.’
    • ‘I have two problems with Occam's razor, or at least the way people think they are using it.’
    • ‘All the complicated middle elements in Montaigne's descriptions are eliminated through a kind of brutal Occam's razor.’
    • ‘This second theory, concerning Ader's relation to his own practice, fails the test of Occam's razor and of common sense.’
    • ‘Veblen's argument was so simple that it cut like Occam's razor.’


Occam's razor

/ˌäkəmz ˈrāzər/ /ˌɑkəmz ˈreɪzər/


Mid 19th century from the name of William of Occam + razor, with reference to the ‘cutting away’ of unnecessary material.